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Context: In a massive show of strength, China began its live-fire exercise, launching at least 11 ballistic missiles into the country’s coast, a day after US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.
- Taiwan’s defence ministry announced that multiple Chinese ships and planes had once again crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two countries.
- Calling the military exercises “highly provocative,” the defence ministry states that it had dispatched aircraft and ships and deployed land-based missile systems in response to the situation.
- Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned China’s largest live-fire exercise in the region, calling it a serious problem
What are live-fire exercises?
- They are exercises primarily used by military personnel, in which live ammunition is used to create training conditions that are as close to real combat scenarios as possible.
- Live-fire exercises are also used by law enforcement and firefighters as a form of field training, to train them to act calmly in real-life emergency situations in the future.
- During live-fire training, soldiers are placed in simulated combat situations and are given the opportunity to use their weapons and equipment (like ships, aircraft, tanks and drones).
- Such exercises are invaluable in maintaining combat readiness of troops, the cohesiveness of units, and instilling confidence in their ability to use their weapons and equipment correctly.
- It also involves testing the effectiveness of vehicles, weapon platforms and weapons systems (such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, anti-aircraft weapons), so that any design flaws can be resolved before the weapons are fully operational.
- As we see in the recent case in the Taiwan Strait, live-fire exercises allow countries to brandish their military prowess and capacity for destruction
- China had previously undertaken a similar show of force during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995-1996, when it fired missiles into the waters near Taiwan, after former President Lee Teng-hui visited the US, despite China’s strong objections.
- US army resumed its live-fire drills in South Korea after a hiatus of three years, in response to the series of weapons tests undertaken by North Korea this year.